After 10 years of producing the educational Art Program Art Rules, Founders of The Pancake Gallery Foundation Ira and Ayra Kip have decided to conclude the program. In an open letter the foundation expresses gratitude and appreciation to all whom have made Art Rules possible.
Art Rules started as a vision to create a platform for Arts Education on the island of Aruba. The program kicked off its first edition in 2010 with more than 200 participants.
We knew were on to something big when so many kids showed up at the kick off. Created in just 6 months with a start up budget from our parents we set up a foundation and were able to sell our vision to local businesses and different government subsidies from the Netherlands. In the first edition we gathered about 20 of our artist friends from around the world who would teach different art disciplines in a 2-week intensive program. The program would follow with 6 consecutive editions with international artists coming from around the world; New York, DC, Baltimore, LA, Paris, London, Amsterdam. Some flew from even further out Japan, South Africa but just as important our neighboring islands Curaçao & St. Maarten.
As the program and its popularity grew, our foundation sought the opportunity to expand its vision to other countries. An attempt to Suriname unfortunately did not happen but with the help of our signature Sponsor RBC Royal Bank and two young local visionaries and founders of Curaçao Cares, Lysaye de Windt and Deva Silliee, Art Rules Curaçao became a reality in 2014. Art Rules Curaçao grows into its own program, catered and tailored to the Curaçaoan Art Scene, rich because of its intense cultural preservation. With immense goodwill from businesses, schools and parents and of course young up and coming artists seeking the opportunity to experience Art Rules, it became an instant success.
However, one cannot survive without a sustainable investment and after a rigorist evaluation of our financial reality we were forced to take a break on Aruba with the wish to return after a year. Unfortunately, 2 attempts in 2017 and 2018, were unsuccessful.
The same thing was the case for Curacao when we wrapped up our 2018 edition.
It was one of our most successful programs out of all the 5 years of Art Rules, yet financially it had hit rock bottom. The economic climate on Curacao which has shifted drastically in the past few years, would have a direct impact on our program, so much so that we weren’t even sure how we would be able even have our traditional final showcase. Aside from being in such a financial strain, we had to start looking at the physical, mental and spiritual effect these challenges started to have on our personal lives. The questions we had to ask ourselves were clear and so was the outcome.
In addition, we are also two extremely ambitious creatives whom after 10 years were also ready for a new challenge.
Have we completed our mission and reached our initial goal?
Art Rules has always centered its mission on cultivating skills by creating safe spaces where one can stand in their authentic self and have full agency to do so. However, with agency comes a great deal of responsibility. Therefore Art Rules moves past education and Arts. We are a movement! A movement, that for the past 10 years has planted seeds in over 1200+ individuals through inspiration and new perspectives. A movement that introduced methods and ideas from around the world which will not only have an immense impact on the artist itself but also on the arts-sector on Curacao & Aruba, it’s cultural identity and where it holds it authenticity in relation to the rest of the world.
So yes, mission accomplished!
We are proud to say that back in 2009 a movement started to rejuvenate the arts and culture sector on our home islands Aruba & Curacao and that we with so many others a we were part of it. What a time to be alive.
Our hope is that young people on the island continue to pursue their ambitions and dreams in becoming the best versions of themselves because there is so much talent on both islands, like diamonds in a rough.
We hope that the world continues to look at our experiences and are inspired to create and share as much as we have. We are confident that the next generation of young creative producers continue to lead the way and with that we are honored to pass the torch.
We thank all whom have invested in Art Rules with funds, donations, subsidies, sponsorships, time, ideas, advise and above all love.
Ira & Ayra Kip